Use MKV files on iPad?

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Doju

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Jun 16, 2008
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I refuse to buy iTunes HD. It's compressed 720p and costs too much. I rip my Blu Rays as MKV files and they're of excellent quality, and I'll be willing to downgrade them to 720p, just not at the price and low quality compression Apple offers.

Unfortunately Apple does not support this in iTunes. Anyone imagine it will make its way in eventually? Much better HD filetype than .MOVs.

If not, the new iPad has drag and drop mountable storage support. Anyone imagine I can drop .MKV files into the app's folder when my iPad is mounted and the app can play them?

Really want the iPad, but this is a really dampening feature for me. That beautiful HD screen only being able to play iTunes content that doesn't do justice to HD or the price.

Thanks!
 

boxstboy

macrumors member
Jul 25, 2009
76
0
Given that a)it's made by Apple, and b) it's basically an ipod touch for giants, what do you think?
 

aaquib

macrumors 65816
Sep 11, 2007
1,495
1
Toronto, Canada
Use Air Video. It's brilliant. I watch tons of 720p mkv clips and it automatically encodes it over-the-air and plays it on the iPhone. I have a 5mbps service and even with that, no lag whatsoever.

Edit: Oh yeah, there's no jailbreaking, it's free from the App Store (there's a paid one, but there's not much incentive to upgrade) and it scales the video to 480X320 automatically.
 

colmaclean

macrumors 68000
Jan 6, 2004
1,644
181
Berlin
Doubt it without jailbreaking.

You won't be able to play 720p widescreen content at full resolution anyway.
 

Luke Redpath

macrumors 6502a
Nov 9, 2007
731
6
Colchester, UK
I might be wrong, but isn't MKV just a container? Why not use an iTunes-friendly container like MP4 and encode your movies using a decent codec like H.264?
 

iphonegeek786

macrumors 6502
Nov 18, 2009
463
0
I have a question, if I have movies on my computer will I be able to put them on the iPad without buying it from my iTunes.
 

admanimal

macrumors 68040
Apr 22, 2005
3,530
2
The fact that you will be able to copy files directly from your desktop computer to a shared folder on the iPad that an app can access opens up a whole new possibility for video players. Previously an app like VLC would have had to implement an entire wireless syncing client/server set up to copy movies from a computer to the iPhone, but that will not be necessary for the iPad. The only question becomes whether the iPad's CPU can handle decoding the various video formats.
 

bobpensik

macrumors regular
Aug 21, 2003
153
9
Calgary, AB
Use Air Video. It's brilliant. I watch tons of 720p mkv clips and it automatically encodes it over-the-air and plays it on the iPhone. I have a 5mbps service and even with that, no lag whatsoever.

Edit: Oh yeah, there's no jailbreaking, it's free from the App Store (there's a paid one, but there's not much incentive to upgrade) and it scales the video to 480X320 automatically.

I use the same application and it works great. Its all you need.
 

colmaclean

macrumors 68000
Jan 6, 2004
1,644
181
Berlin
I've just tried out Air Video and it is indeed excellent.

For me the only problem with it is that you need a Mac/PC switched on to perform the transcoding as my Linux NAS is incompatible. Bah!
 

seepel

macrumors 6502
Dec 22, 2009
471
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I've messed with this a bit for my Apple TV. Unfortunately it doesn't look good. Most mkvs are transcoded with the High profile x264 codec. The apple store sells HD with the Main h.264 codec (same thing less compression as far as I know) As a result their devices don't support anything higher. Otherwise it would be a simple matter of remuxing the video. Like the Apple TV I imagine the iPad will be doing hardware decoding as I doubt the A4 chip is powerful enough on its own to do the decoding.

So long story short I think you'd have to transcode your videos keeping in mind the specs of the device. I think it maxes out at 2.5 Mbps, 720p Main profile x264, and 30 fps.
 

Julien

macrumors G4
Jun 30, 2007
11,142
3,835
Atlanta
Doubt it without jailbreaking.

You won't be able to play 720p widescreen content at full resolution anyway.
People are often confused by this and assume it will be HD. It will play 1280x720 HD content but it will be downscaled. The iPad is NOT HD (as well as most so called HD portable devices) because the display must be at least *1280x720 to meet HD's minimum requirements. Here is what will be shown on the iPad's 1024x768 screen.

iPad's display is 1.33 (3x4).................................1024x768
HDTV 1.78 (16x9) will be...................................1024x575 (black bars=96 lines top & 96 lines bottom)
Scope (Panavision/Super 35) 2.35 movies will be..1024x436 (black bars=166 lines top & 166 lines bottom)

*some 1st gen plasma's used 1024x720 (non square pixels for a 1.78 (16x9) aspect ratio) and were called HD.
 

Simmerl

macrumors member
Aug 25, 2007
69
0
Matrovska/MKV is a container.
If you have your movies coded h.264 within your MKV container, you should be able to convert them into a container QuickTime, iTunes, the iPad etc. can play.
 

yegon

macrumors 68030
Oct 20, 2007
2,714
805
Anyone used Subler successfully with the iPad?

http://code.google.com/p/subler/

This is able to to mux .mkv to .mp4 files, to play on Apple TV etc without the need for conversion, saving aeon's of time in the process. I'd like to know if it works with the iPad.

Won't have my iPad till Friday but just did a mux of a typical 1.17gb 720p mkv file, only took about 2 minutes. It'd be awesome if this works.

Note: For the uninitiated I'm NOT talking about mkv->mp4 conversion, so please don't suggest Handbrake. The point of Subler is making mkv's compatible with the iPad without the need of a lengthy transcoding session..
 

zerolight

macrumors 6502
Mar 6, 2006
482
70
Glasgow
I use Air Video to stream stuff. If I were to require movies on the move I'd use MKVTools to convert them from MKV to MP4 which it does by pulling the mp4 file out of the MKV then just converting the audio to stereo. This takes a few mins per MKV, so nice and quick. That said, the iPad will only play a 720p source directly, so this process will only work for 720p MKVs.

Fortunately, all I need is to transcode as I tend to use the movies feature in my home, so Air Video is perfect. I'll
 

yegon

macrumors 68030
Oct 20, 2007
2,714
805
Good to know there's a definite alternative should Subler not work, I already use MKVtools too.

Streaming is useless to me as I'll be using it purely at work or travelling.
 

Deamos

macrumors member
Mar 25, 2009
65
0
I've just tried out Air Video and it is indeed excellent.

For me the only problem with it is that you need a Mac/PC switched on to perform the transcoding as my Linux NAS is incompatible. Bah!
Can you run Wine on your NAS? I have Air Video Server running on Ubuntu through Wine. Works perfectly fine. The only problem is that the host discovery doesn't work, however manually inputting the IP address works fine.
 

Theophany

macrumors 6502a
Nov 16, 2008
633
185
NW London.
Handbrake is great at converting MKV to M4V (iTunes friendly MP4 extension). No loss of quality, though you'll need to enable 'large file sizes' within Handbrake and definitely go for the 64 bit version for speed. Only thing is it doesn't support batch encoding, so you'll have to create an encode list one file at a time. Seeing as VisualHub was discontinued a while back, Handbrake is really the best free option I've come across.

If your files are MKV because you want to keep subtitles within them, you can also port those into M4V format (although M4V does not support 'hard' subs like MKV, it does support 'soft' subs in iTunes and on Apple devices). Details of this process can be found here.
 

imacdaddy

macrumors 6502a
Feb 2, 2006
662
0
Anyone used Subler successfully with the iPad?

http://code.google.com/p/subler/

This is able to to mux .mkv to .mp4 files, to play on Apple TV etc without the need for conversion, saving aeon's of time in the process. I'd like to know if it works with the iPad.

Won't have my iPad till Friday but just did a mux of a typical 1.17gb 720p mkv file, only took about 2 minutes. It'd be awesome if this works.

Note: For the uninitiated I'm NOT talking about mkv->mp4 conversion, so please don't suggest Handbrake. The point of Subler is making mkv's compatible with the iPad without the need of a lengthy transcoding session..
THANKS!!! I've been looking to MUX my vids instead of re-encoding for the longest time. I will give this try tonight! :D THANKS!!!

I've been re-encoding my mkv files using handbreak for the longest time and its so time consuming.
 

huskerchad

macrumors regular
Jul 17, 2002
245
0
I might be wrong, but isn't MKV just a container? Why not use an iTunes-friendly container like MP4 and encode your movies using a decent codec like H.264?
Yes, both are just containers and say nothing about the codec or quality of the video. If the codecs are right, you can simply remux from mkv to mp4 to play on the iPad.
 

poloponies

Suspended
May 3, 2010
2,661
1,360
I embarked on a project to rip all my DVDs to a network drive (for AppleTV access) and bought an ElGato turbo.264 hardware accelerator to speed up the process. I now have a couple hundred movies in my iTunes folder. When i got my iPad I wanted to pare down the files so I could carry more with me. The ElGato works well for that. You can dump a bunch of files on it and then re-encode the batch to whatever format you like - you can even encode to different formats in a single batch (you select the format for each file via drop-down menu within that file's window). Works with most source files including mkv, avi. The day after I got the iPad I dumped a ton of stuff on it and it finished the batch 20 hours later (each file was accessible as it was converted so I didn't have to wait for the entire batch to complete).

Well worth the cost for me.
 

rworne

macrumors 6502a
Jul 23, 2002
563
41
Los Angeles
+1 here for Air Video.

Not only will it stream just about anything with on-the-fly transcoding, but you can also queue up items to transcode while you are not using it.

I have mine connected to my ReadyNAS AFP share and it streams/converts everything.
 

billyzenme

macrumors member
Dec 21, 2009
80
0
+1 here for Air Video.

Not only will it stream just about anything with on-the-fly transcoding, but you can also queue up items to transcode while you are not using it.

I have mine connected to my ReadyNAS AFP share and it streams/converts everything.
-1 here for Air Video

it's actually useless since it requires a computer to be running 24/7 in the background (for decoding) just so the video can be viewed on the iPad.

if Air Video can directly connect to the NAS files/folders, then it would be much more practical.
 

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